Tuesday, July 03, 2007,11:49 am
The Ummah on a Suicidal Course
The Ulama of Nafs since ancient times have categorised certain weaknesses, sins, faults, and transgressions in human actions as ‘diseases of the heart’. These types of diseases are not associated with the heart which is a lump of flesh inside the human body and that pumps blood and is susceptible to several physical ailments. But they are associated with the spiritual illness which is much more dangerous and destructive than the illness of physical heart. An individual might be quite robust and active, indicating that his physical heart is healthy. But his deeds, feelings, expressions and words, emanating from his innermost intention, might indicate that he is afflicted with spiritual disease. That is why, Islam has emphasised that the acceptability of deeds depends on the intention, which is abstract and which can be concealed from the rest of the world (but not from God) with very smart manipulation.

Imam al-Muttaqeen, Ali ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon him) has said: “judge yourself before you are judged”. Imam Moosa al-Kadhim (peace be upon him) has said: “He is not from us who does not judge himself (yuhasib nafsahu) everyday. So if he does a good deed, he increases it; and if he does a bad deed, he asks the forgiveness of Allah and repents to Him”. But there are certain deeds where the rights of ‘Ibad (slaves of Allah) are usurped. These are not forgivable until the aggrieved party forgives them first; and the warning of this nature is given in several ahadith of the Prophet (s.a.w.w.) and his Ahl ul Bayt.

When the rights of others are usurped, this can be an individual responsibility and a collective responsibility. Surat Yusuf in the Qur’an speaks about an individual transgression which was committed by the wife of Aziz and a collective transgression which was committed by the brothers of Yusuf (peace be upon him).

When a premeditated transgression occurs collectively, then those involved take upon themselves the burden of sins on their own behalf and on behalf of others who rely on their judgement and decision. In certain cases, this becomes a major sin. The Ulama of the past used to habitually take stock or inventory of their actions at the end of every day, to critically examine the lapses that might have, intentionally or unintentionally, occurred during the day. This method is the best means of muhasabah (self accountability) before it is too late to rectify the transgressions and before the matter is presented to the Supreme Judge on the Day of Reckoning. Allah says: “Verily, We have warned you of a near Punishment, the Day when man will see (the deeds) which his hands have sent forth, and the Unbeliever will say, "Woe unto me! Would that I were a mere dust!" (Qur’an, 78:40).

Alas! The Muslim Ummah is passing through the most humiliating phase in its history, in which the main culprits are the Muslims themselves. Some intentional actions which emanate individually and collectively may raise suspicion that perhaps the members of the Ummah are not convinced about the coming of the Day of Judgement! Perhaps they believe that the Nakirain who are recording the deeds have gone into retirement! Perhaps they think that they would be able to successfully employ the manipulative tactics they have been employing in this life, in the Hereafter too! Or perhaps they think that they have already obtained a green card to enter Heaven, so there is nothing to worry about!

The progeny of the Nasibites and the Kharijites have slapped the face of the entire Muslim Ummah through their wholesome destruction of human life and by destroying the Islamic sanctities like, the shrine of Askariyyain (peace be upon them). But aren’t we, one way or another, accomplices in their ugly deeds? They remain united in their transgression and we remain divided for the sake of our egotism! Allah warns: “Have you seen him who has taken his own passion (or desire) as his god?” (Qur’an, 25:43). To remain apathetic to the matters pertinent to the future and survival of the Ummah is like remaining self-indulgent, where an individual is not able to see beyond his own image. Otherwise, in how many commemorations marking the martyrdom of the great lady Fatima Zahra (peace be upon her) which stretched between Jamadi’ul Awwal and Jamadi’ul Thani did we remember those innocent souls who are paying a heavy price every single day with their lives in Iraq, for the mere reason that they are the defenders of the rights of Fatima Zahra (a.s.) and her blessed progeny? In how many commemorations did we try to educate our public about the filthy conspiracy at regional level, targeting the shrines of Ahl ul Bayt (a.s.) and aiming at desecrating all the signs of their sanctity? Are these innocent men, women and children who are steadfast on their love for Ahl ul Bayt (a.s.) dying in vain? Let not the warning of Imam al-Askari (a.s.) apply on us when he said: “The worst slave (of Allah) is the one who has two faces and two tongues…”

The face that remains indifferent to the calamity of the Ummah and the tongue that only moves when its own interest is involved, is miles away from the exhortation of Imam Ali (a.s.) who said: “Utter the truth, even if it is against yourself.”

The fact remains that the Ummah is the victim of collective transgression and an undeclared war within itself and against itself. The only way to counter this trend that is leading members of the Ummah towards the suicidal ditch is to make muhasabah with ourselves. Are we not applying dual standards in dealing with each other? Are we not discriminating against each other on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity or regionalism? Are we discharging the amanat (trust) of Huquq Shar’iyyah without personal bias and prejudice, likes and dislikes or are we choosy and discriminatory even in regard to Huquqal ‘Ibad? Haven’t we read the warning of Imam Ali (a.s.) that one brick of Haraam installed in a building justifies bringing down the entire building? Or do we think that the Divine mechanism devised for witnessing our innermost intentions does not exist? If we have no stamina to listen to the truth and to let others be educated on the basis of truth, and not only slogans, then we have lost the right of claiming that “we wish we were with you”, when in actions we speak otherwise.
Mahmood Abdulla
posted by Ya_Baqiyatullah
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  • At 8:00 pm, July 04, 2007, Anonymous Akbar Hussain

    Ahsantum. I think we've fallen into a trend of worrying more about what other people are doing wrong rather than looking at our own deeds. Not only does this lead to bigotry but it can also lead to hypocrisy. The muhasabah is the best solution to this and will not only provide a spiritual cleansing but also the building of a stronger character.

  • At 8:11 pm, July 04, 2007, Blogger Zeinab Chami

    "The fact remains that the Ummah is the victim of collective transgression and an undeclared war within itself and against itself."

    absolutely amazing. lately, i've noticed the utter destitution we are facing as an ummah, and i haven't been able to articulate it well at all! we are destroying ourselves, and it's time we wake up. if people took the time to reflect upon themselves and their own internal poverty in the grand scheme of things, then we would realize that the only offering we can give is striving to improve the ummah. let's do the work of the imam (ajtf) while he's not here!